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Help needed: trouble weaning from breast to bottle at 6.5 months

(19 Posts)
Ponymum Thu 26-Mar-09 15:42:03

Can any experienced people out there offer some constructive suggestions please? I am having trouble weaning from breast to bottle at 6.5 months. She is absolutely refusing to take a bottle, and I really do need to make the transition as soon as possible.

- DD has been 99% BF since birth, and has been excellent at this.
- From around 1 month to 3 months she was occasionally bottle fed, and successfully took both expressed milk and formula from a variety of people.
- I stopped expressing as it became very difficult, and she has been 100% BF for the last 3 months. She now refuses a bottle even though she happily took one when she was younger.
- We have tried Avent, Tommee Tippee closer to nature, and Nuk teats. None have worked.
- She happily sips water from a Tommee Tippee first cup now, but refuses to take formula milk from it.
- DH, our childminder, and the nursery staff where she has now started have all tried to bottle feed her. Even when she is starving she won't take it.
- We notice that she often chokes and cries when the formula starts flowing into her mouth, so we have moved to the slowest teats possible. (When she was bottle fed before, she always guzzled it down at top speed.)
- We have tried three different formula brands, all unsuccessful.

She is now just about starving at nursery. I have to feed her at lunchtime but then it's 5 hours or so with nothing. As you can imagine, this is making nights hell as she is making up her feeds then. Also she is not eating much, either puree or finger food (appears just not terribly interested compared to other food-obsessed babies). But LOVES to be BF by mummy!

I realise I am trying to do two things at once, ie. introduce bottles and formula at the same time. But I have tried to express again and I truly can't. Also that would defeat the purpose as I have to give up BF for my own health reasons, not just introduce bottles because of nursery/return to work.

So sorry for the long post, but how do you make a baby take formula from a bottle, when they really want BF from mummy? This is becoming really difficult and I am nearly at my wits end. Help!

OnALearningCurve Thu 26-Mar-09 16:47:34

While I am new to this too (only have 1 DS who is 6.5 months) I had a lot of problems getting him to take anything other than breast milk. From day one he absolutely refused to take any formula of any brand.

Can't offer much help on the bottle front, but as I use nipple sheilds when I BF I found that this helped him to take it from a bottle as he was familiar with the idea of a teat.

I did find that 'giving' him (which was more like force feeding) things like baby porridge which contained formula in it meant that when I did try formula again he then did take it and I am now mixed feeding him with BLW.

Also I tried to give him purees with things like mango which were quite strong so that when I tried formula again he seemed almost relieved by the mild formula taste after the taste sensations I had been giving him! Apparently Aptimel satge 1 is the closest to breast milk but that might be a sales pitch.

I'm not sure if any of this will help as I've said I am new to all this but fingers crossed for you!

Jenbot Thu 26-Mar-09 16:56:35

Hello! Hmm, I personally think you ought to persevere with the cups and food and not bother with the bottle. (Speaking as someone whose DD also had a bottle happily for a while then totally refused. We tried so many things and none worked to be honest!)

I'm just thinking that you're going to get her to take the bottle, then in a few short months you'll be trying to get her off it again and onto a cup anyway.

And I'm sure she'll get better with food as time goes on even if she's not interested too much now.

As for getting her to take formula, hmm, could you try a different sort of cup if she'll have water from a cup? Like a doidy or one with a straw or something? Are straws allowed - I don't know!? If you think she'll take EBM from a bottle or cup, you could rent a hospital grade pump - I got one from medela direct while DD was in hospital, it took about 10 minutes rather than an hour to get the same amount of milk so I felt it was worth it.

At my BF group, the LLL woman mentioned some babies "reverse cycling" and feeding all night when you go to work, not sure what the answer is - you must be so tired! Perhaps it'll be less of an issue as she eats more?

Good luck anyway!!

Jenbot Thu 26-Mar-09 16:57:35

(I'm not really experienced either!)

digitalgirl Thu 26-Mar-09 18:07:40

Watching with interest as I'll be in the same boat in a month's time.

Have you tried NOT feeding her at night to make up for it? I realise this is introducing yet another change, but if she's making up for it at night then she's not going to be that hungry during the day.

I dropped the night feeds over the last couple of weeks (DS 7 months next week) - it was hard and DS did wake and cry a lot, but for me it was the first step to getting him to eat more in the day and sleep more at night. If you know your DD can go almost the whole day without a feed then she could probably go the whole night without a feed and then be 'persuaded' to make up for it in the day.

digitalgirl Thu 26-Mar-09 18:08:09

blush not experienced either!

Debs75 Thu 26-Mar-09 18:37:57

We are struggling as well, R will not take bottles or dummies at all, have tried the tommie tippee cup with water in and have now got a soft spout for the avent bottles. they can bite this and it is very squashy.

DD1 was also the same and it took a lot of persevering before she accepted a bottle. What turned the corner was when she had been weaning a few months and had the strength to hold her bottle (about 7 months old).
I also used formula milk to mix up packet foods and in purees. i think this gave ger the taste for formula.

Trying to give her formula when she is starving will give you more problems imo, if you feed from both sides try and give her to hubby with a bottle for the 2nd half. you go off to another room so she can't smell you and switch on the shower or radio so you can't hear her if she cries.

Good luck and keep persevering, she will take it in the end.

plusonemore Thu 26-Mar-09 18:52:29

all i can add is that the NUK teats are great IME, the hole is on the top of the teat rather than the end so doesnt squirt down their throat and is supposed to be much more like BF. I know you've tried them but if you are going to keep going offering milk from a bottle I would personally choose these. I too had trouble getting ds2 to take a bottle but found that he gags he gags if its too cold- even lukewarm. He likes it really quite hot, like a drinkable cup of tea. Good luck

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 26-Mar-09 19:00:49

Message withdrawn

Jenbot Thu 26-Mar-09 20:23:02

Yes the Nuk teats are the only ones we had any luck at all with, but it still took her over an hour to drink less than an ounce, so I just gave up at that point. blush

Ponymum Thu 26-Mar-09 20:43:54

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am thinking a lot about the cup suggestion. Also considering having to face the expressing thing short term somehow. I am wondering about the Avent spout which you can use from 6 months, since DD is good with the Tommee Tippee cup? Any experience?

Pacita Thu 26-Mar-09 20:45:26

No useful advice to give you, Ponymum, but wanted to bump the thread.

I use tommy tippee and they seem to be doing the trick for DS.

Good luck - hope she learns to take bottles soon!

Ponymum Thu 26-Mar-09 21:46:38

Thanks starlight. I have started a side thread in the breast and bottle feeding thread, asking about the spout and with a link to this thread.

Last time I tried to express I tried both sides for over an hour and got less than 1 oz. Yet it just gushes out in a jet when DD is feeding. As I have to give up soon anyway, I would only perservere with the expressing if it was a genuine step to getting her to transfer to formula.

Debs75 Fri 27-Mar-09 23:25:35

Tried Robyn with the avent spout but no success yet. It is remarkably similar to the ones I used with DC1 and 2 and it was a big help with them.
Maybe a good idea to mess with the temp, ds like a hot milk whereas friends ds like straight from the fridge

Corblimy Sun 29-Mar-09 23:12:53

I tried to move my DS to formula via a bottle at 6 months and he completely refused. The whole thing (after a few different methods) ended up taking two months but I did get there.

When he completely refused the bottle with formula I had to give it a break as any sign of the bottle was met negatively. I waited a few weeks and then gave him my expressed milk via bottle, which he did take.

When got used to my milk via a bottle I started diluting it with forula milk but only adding 10 mls per day (i.e. first day 100ml of milk = 90 breast and 10 formula) and upped it by 10 ml per day and it took ages and was a pain to be expressing but did eventually get there.......good luck

I expressed using the avent electrical breast pumup and it was always easier in the morning...hope this is useful

Ponymum Mon 30-Mar-09 12:03:13

corblimy - thank you so much for giving me a run through of how you did it. That is really helpful and I think what you have described is what I am going to have to do.

I think I will also have to try an electric pump, but god they are expensive aren't they? And what if it's still no better than the manual? (Oh well, I have probably spent just as much on alternative teats, bottles, and formula over the last few weeks anyway!)

Corblimy Mon 30-Mar-09 21:21:52

That's ok - when I tried expressing with the hand pump I only managed to get out a few drops but the avent electric one did work for is expensive though...I'm just going to have to try to have more babies to justify the cost :-)

BikeRunSki Mon 30-Mar-09 22:49:54

Three people I know who have been in your situation have had success with MAM teats.

mamamurf10 Thu 13-Jan-11 11:13:44

Just found this thread,it describes exactly my situation- except that we may also be dealing with a milk allergy so are having to wean to hypoallergenic formula which tastes rank-just wondering if you see this if you could let me know if you succeeded & how?
I am at my wits end & battling pnd at the mo,i just feel completely desperate & can't see any end to this.I am persevering with the bottle & expressed milk but like you i can't get much out anymore,some days she'll take a few ounces,but then the next day she wom't take any.She won't take water at all & whereas she was great with her solids the first week or so the last few days she has started to go off those as well,she won't eat any at all if i mix any formula in,no matter how little.
I have no idea what to do.I am now completely doubting my decision to breastfeed as it seems to have have made life so difficult,i know hardly any mums who breastfed & i don't know anyone who has had these problems,i followed all the advice i could & didn't introduce a bottle too early to avoid nipple confusion etc. but feel like i've just made everything so difficult,i know the mums i know who bottlefed are looking at me thinking that i made my bed & now i have to lie in it,it's all my fault & i don't know how to fix it.

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